ADHD Management & Alternative Treatments

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As it is International ADHD AWARENESS Month – let’s kick off this week with a topic close to my heart, as I too have a son that falls within the Autism spectrum. Many moons ago when he was little and struggling to meet his developmental milestones and causing havoc in his nursery school, we began the long & torturous road to trying to find out what was going on in his little mind & body…. The first LABLE was Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The long road included test after test, therapy session after therapy session, Occupational Speech you name it and of course the dreaded DRUG REGIME. We tried quite a few. I might add this did very little for him if anything at times made it worse… So here is an little input from my side as a mother and nurse, with many years of research and actually being in the trenches with other parents and teachers…. Here’s my 5 cents worth this week:

According to the Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Support Group of Southern Africa ADHASA), ADHD is understood to appear in 10% of the South African population and is found in all ethnic and socio-economic clusters.

ADHD Little girl image

Imagine what it would be like to realise that your child:

  • acts and thinks differently
  • says and does whatever comes to mind
  • Constantly interrupts while they are talking.

Imagine what it would be like to learn from his teacher that your child:

  •  is ‘rude and disruptive’
  • not capable of paying attention or following simple instructions in the classroom.

The frightening realisation that your child’s schooling career might be in jeopardy could drive you into the arms of a doctor. And when you take your child there, instead of a comprehensive medical assessment and blood tests, you may end up having a conversation about your child’s behaviour, and, after a few minutes, you could leave with an Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis coupled with a prescription. You can bet that there’s a pharmaceutical solution offered up as a standard reactionary medical response.

I am not suggesting that some kids do or don’t have ADHD or that some kids might not actually be served well to take a medication. As a mother & practicing integrative nurse dealing with this issue, it’s clear that a small percentage of children will in fact do better in terms of socialization and academic performance when they are appropriately medicated. But the notion that we should accept the idea that medications should be given to all those who “act out” of the conventional mold in the academic measurement system….should be challenged on scientific, medical, and compassionate grounds.

Here’s the checklist of what I believe should happen before children get medication:

“CUT THE SUGAR!!!”

gluten allergy image
  1. Check for gluten sensitivity, which has been associated with attention issues. Going gluten-free can absolutely lead to remarkable changes in a child’s behaviour.
  2. Add a supplement containing the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
  3. Add a wide spectrum probiotic.
  4. Increase dietary fat while substantially reducing sugar and carbs. Healthful sources for brain-friendly fats include olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, wild fish, and avocado.
  5. Ensure your child is getting adequate exercise, at least 45minutes to a full hour each day.
  6. ChecVitamin D status and consider supplementing to bring the vitamin D blood level to the middle of the “normal range.”
  7. Reduce exposure to overstimulation – Limit the time spent watching TV and playing Computer Games
  8. Watch the overall use of body care products and household cleaning agents which can attribute to increasing body toxin levels.

Some may even have shown signs if Lactose intolerance as a baby…. So this too is often an early warning sign that there are some issues with an imbalanced GUT biome.

The implementation of the above protocol & supplementation for a few months will soon reveal signs of improvement in your child’s behaviour and concentration. In some cases, I would recommend we take it a step further and implement the GAPS protocol for a healing diet proven to be effective in the treatment of ADHD & AUTISTIC SPECTRUM.

At BALANCED HEALING, the approach is individual and focused. We utilize the dietary and natural supplementation avenues with some herbal remedies alongside the use of Bach Flower Remedies as well as Auricular acupuncture / pressure point therapy, while functioning within a reputable and professional referral base as and when other therapies are required or indicated.

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Balanced Healing offers an integrated holistic approach to health & wellness in the workplace & for the individual
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SUN SMART - PART 2
Part 2 of the Sun Smart Series we discuss the damaging effects of the sun, sunscreen & SPF and how to effectively protect yourself from the sun.

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More Silly Season Health Tips
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With the Silly Season & office parties upon us, Here are some health tips to follow.
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SUN SMART

Now that the holiday season is almost upon us it is important to discuss your skin, the largest organ in the body and how to obtain optimal skin health & protection.

LAYERS OF THE SKIN

The skin has three layers:
·The EPIDERMIS, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.
·The DERMIS, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
·The deeper subcutaneous tissue (HYPODERMIS) is made of fat and connective tissue.

THE PURPOSE OF SKIN

+It keeps the insides IN & the outside OUT – provides a BARRIER
+PROTECTS US – The skin functions as our first line of defence against toxins, radiation and harmful pollutants. The skin contains cells that provide immune functions to protect against infections. Our skin has the ability to identify and destroy foreign substances that may potentially be harmful to the body.
+ABSORPTION – Thousands of pores on the surface of the skin can absorb vitamins, acids, water and oxygen in order to provide moisture and nourishment to our skin.
+EXCRETION – The skin is the body’s largest waste removal system. Toxins are released through the sweat glands and pores.
+SECRETION – The skin secretes sebum, a mixture of oils that keeps the skin soft and supple. The layer of sebum on the outermost layer of the skin is known as the acid mantle. When intact the acid mantle has a PH that ranges from 4.5-5.5. The acid mantle is acidic in nature to protect the skin from outside invasion.
+REGULATION – The skin regulates the body’s temperature by sweating; when water from sweat on the skin evaporates it gives off heat and cools the body. The body’s temperature increases or by shivering or getting goosebumps when the body is cold. The contraction of muscles releases energy that warms the body.
+SENSATION – The skin contains millions of nerve endings that transport stimuli. These nerve endings allow humans to detect sensation such as heat, cold, pain and pressure.

SKIN COLOUR

MELANIN: The pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their colour. Dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light-skinned people have. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes.

Everyone has about the same number of cells that make melanin, but not everybody makes the same amount of melanin. The more melanin your skin makes the darker your skin. How much melanin your body makes depends on your genes, which you get from your parents. Melanin is why you get a tan or burn.

Dark pigmented people living in high sunlight environments are at an advantage due to the high amounts of melanin produced in their skin. The dark pigmentation protects from DNA damage and absorbs the right amounts of UV radiation needed by the body, as well as protects against folate depletion.

SUNLIGHT & MELANIN

Sunlight modifies melanin
Have you ever wondered why your skin colour changes when exposed to sunlight? Well, it turns out that this important pigment reacts to the exposure of ultraviolet light, so when receiving solar radiation absorbs UV rays to minimize damage to the skin, which modifies its original colour and makes it much more intense and dark

The Process has a positive aspect in that it protects the skin and the body in general from suffering deep burns, although its prolonged exposure to the sun can cause an adverse reaction in the cells, turning them into carcinogens.

The lack of melanin and its consequences
When we have little melanin in the body the consequences are visible, a lack of extreme melanin occurs in the form of albinism, however, a considerable deficiency of it can also manifest as vitiligo, a condition that can reduce the existing pigment in certain areas of the body.

In addition, a lack of considerable melanin in the epidermis can cause the early appearance of grey hair, while its excess can trigger the appearance of age spots.

SUN EXPOSURE
It feels good to lounge in the sunshine, but it can hurt your health in the long run. Over the years, too much time outdoors can put you at risk for wrinkles, age spots, scaly patches called actinic keratosis, and skin cancer.

A tan may look nice, but that golden colour is due to an injury to the top layer of your skin.

When you soak up the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, it speeds up the ageing of your skin and raises your risk of skin cancer.

SUNBURN
Sunburn (First-Degree Burns) There’s no guesswork about whether you’ve got a sunburn. Your skin turns red, it feels hot to the touch, and you may have some mild pain. uIt’s called a first-degree burn when it affects only the outer layer of your skin. To get some relief from pain, try a cold compress, or apply some moisturizing cream or aloe.

Sunburn (Second Degree) A second-degree sunburn damages deep layers of your skin and nerve endings. It’s usually more painful and takes longer to heal. You may have redness and swelling. If blisters form, don’t break them. They might get infected.

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Stay tuned as next week we will discuss the ageing effects of sun exposure.
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